While consumers are thinking about summer vacations, retailers are already gearing-up for the 2015 holiday season.
The traditional shopping season once began with in-store Black Friday sales and culminated with an after-Christmas bargain-hunting frenzy, but the rise of e-commerce is shifting consumer behavior. “Consumers aren’t rushing to stores to take advantage of sales. E-commerce has given them the ability to shop around for the best price from the convenience of their laptop or mobile device. This is a real game-changer that puts the consumer in the driver’s seat,” explains Andrea Van Dam, CEO of Women’s Marketing.
What does this mean for retailers? Below find the holiday shopping trends to watch in 2015.
Mobile Influence and Sales Grow
Mobile is unifying the online and offline shopping experience. Last year, smartphone visits to retail sites rose 51% between Thanksgiving and Christmas over the previous year. “We saw consumer behavior shift and it has continued throughout 2015. Given current trends, retailers should expect that more than half of online shopping traffic in the 2015 holiday season will be on a mobile device,” says Van Dam. “Retailers should prepare by making sure their websites are mobile-ready with responsive design or an app,” if not, she warns, consumers will go elsewhere.
Better Online/Offline Shopping Integration
Although consumers primarily use their smartphones to discover and research products and most conversions occur in store, it doesn’t mean that retailers can drop the ball across all their online platforms, including social media. Research shows that nearly 56% of total retail sales will be influenced by online research and discovery and 25% of all retail purchases, or over a trillion dollars in sales, will be influenced by something the consumer saw online. “Online research is the new browsing,” says Van Dam, “Today’s consumer comes into the store with more knowledge and a greater intent-to-purchase than we’ve ever seen before.”
Once consumers have arrived in store, incentivizing them to buy – or buy more – once they’ve arrived in-store is another challenge for marketers. “In 2014, we saw the use of in-store beacons that send coupons and discounts to consumers while they’re shopping. Analysts believe that beacons will influence $4.1 billion in in-store sales in 2015—there’s little doubt this technology will be a purchase driver during the 2015 holiday season,” Van Dam predicts.
Our Holiday Shopping Prediction? A Longer Shopping Season.
The holiday shopping calendar started earlier and ran longer in 2014, as online sales and better fulfillment options brought new calendar days into play. Our holiday shopping prediction is that in 2015 this will be emphasized further. “Many retailers noticed a big increase in sales early in the season, encouraged by pre-Thanksgiving discounts and free shipping,” says Van Dam. “The post-holiday period also saw an increase in sales—sales were up 8% on December 26 and 27, thanks to in-store foot-traffic. Consumers knew there would be post-holiday markdowns and factored that into their shopping plans. Retailers that take a holistic approach to holiday marketing and plan to tap into these trends should have a successful season,” Van Dam predicts.
Is your holiday advertising strategy for 2015 incorporating the latest trends and technology? Contact Women’s Marketing to learn how we can help your brand grow through our holistic approach to media.
Source: eMarketer Holiday Shopping Preview, March 2015